Lake Texoma

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Spring Jugline Fishing For Catfish on Lake Texoma


Writing and blogging for business and for fun, Mia Sherwood Landau works from her cabin in the woods on Lake Texoma, where she loves to knit and sew and and craft folk art whenever she's not writing or spending time on the water.

I am quoting the Texas Park and Wildlife Department today, because I almost made a stupid, big mistake.

Maybe you saw my posts here on last Thanksgiving, describing my adventures when I went jugline fishing for the first time in my life. It was fun. It was cold. But those tasty catfish have been such a blessing as we've been taking them out of the freezer all winter.

Well, I'm pretty certain that I'm not the only person who doesn't know very much about jugline fishing. And I'm also sure that I'm not the only person who is getting ready to go jugline fishing this spring, and was just about to make the stupid, big mistake I mentioned earlier.

That mistake involves the COLOR OF THE JUGS.

OK, I realize some of you might be scratching your head and thinking, "wow, everybody knows they have to be white if you are not a commercial fishing operation." No, I repeat, everybody does NOT know that.

I almost went shopping to get some nifty day-glow green or yellow paint so that our juglines would stand out from the rest. THAT'S THE BIG, STUPID MISTAKE. Here's the exact language from the TPWD manual regarding jugline requirements:

"For use in FRESH WATER only. A fishing line with five or less hooks tied to a free-floating device.

May be used to take NONGAME fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish only.
For non-commercial purposes, a jugline must be marked with a white, free-floating device.

For commercial purposes, a jugline must be marked with an orange, free-floating device."

Oh, and don't overlook the fact that each jug, called a "free-floating device" in the manual, must be clearly marked with your name and address, and additional permit information for commercial fishing.

One more really important point regarding jugline fishing is that ONLY CATFISH are legal. That's right, Stripers and other fish must be removed and released when accidentally caught on jugline hooks.

Let's look at the TPWD description of catfish for a moment:

"Channel catfish are taken near the mouths of creeks after a rain, especially in spring and fall. In late spring and early summer, they are found around rocky shores and areas of rip-rap. Best baits are shrimp, blood bait, cut bait, dough bait, and shad gizzards. In summer, try drift-fishing shrimp across flats. Sunfish and large minnows also pay off here.

Blue catfish are caught on many of the same baits; however, these fish migrate downstream or into the main pool area in winter and upstream in the spring.Try juglining with live gizzard shad for bait. A rod and reel baited with live shad on windless winter days works well, too.

Flathead catfish are infrequently caught by rod and reel anglers, but most often by troutlining with live sunfish for bait."

There you go - TPWD says "try juglining with live gizzard shad for bait," in the section on Blue Catfish.

Try it for yourself, and be sure to use WHITE JUGS and don't get creative or your juglines won't be legal.

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Lake Texoma Fishing Report from TPWD (Dec. 13)

Water lightly stained; 47–51 degrees; 1.42’ high. Black bass are good on suspending jerkbaits, Senkos and shakyhead worms. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Striped bass are fair on slabs and minnows. Catfish are slow on trotlines and prepared bait.

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